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Three Millennia of Greek Literature



from Epistle to orators, * Published in Sp. Lambros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnesiaka, v. II, Athens 1912-24, pp. 273.30-275.5. Translated by Elpenor  * Greek Fonts  * Gennadius Resources


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Thus words are the common good, hence they ought to command human affairs and all things should be led and moved by them. And I think that the first men, who had the words in their nature, gave to them the command of everything, but when they were corrupted by sin, then this command also ended. And now there isn't any city in the inhabited world where words lead, but there was a time when they led much better, and of those who were devoted to the words, some in the cities acted the common affairs, others prepared those who were going to work these affairs and examined those who made whatever mistake - not like it happens here, where judges and shepherds of souls and teachers we ordain those who have made of ignorance, and the evil that always dwells in ignorance, an honor and a glory of them, that which is indeed the place of all illness. And lords of everything have become those who know nothing else than to slander and to damage their neighbour, while if they are left some men who have mind and thinking, they seem nothing else than alien bodies.

Οὕτως οἱ λόγοι κοινὸν ἀγαθόν, ὅθεν αὐτοὺς καὶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων ἔδει δεσπόζειν καὶ πάνθ' ὑπὸ τούτων ἄγεσθαι καὶ κινεῖσθαι. Οὓς οἶμαι καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις ἀνθρώποις ἐνυπάρχοντας φυσικῶς τὴν κατὰ πάντων ἀρχὴν αὐτοῖς ἐγχειρίσαι, καί, φθαρέντων ὑπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας, αὐτίκα πεπαῦσθαι καὶ τὴν ἀξίαν. Καὶ νῦν μὲν οὐκ ἔστιν ὅπου τῆς οἰκουμένης πόλεις ἄγουσι λόγοι, ἀλλ' ἦν ὅτε καὶ πολὺ βέλτιον ἦγον καὶ τῶν περὶ λόγους ἐχόντων οἱ μὲν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ἔπραττον τὰ κοινά, οἱ δὲ τοὺς πράξοντας παρεσκεύαζον καὶ τοὺς περὶ ὁτιοῦν ἡμαρτηκότας ἐξήλεγχον, οὐχ ὥσπερ ἐνταῦθα καὶ δικαστὰς καὶ ψυχῶν ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους χειροτονοῦμεν τοὺς τὴν ἀμαθίαν καὶ τὴν τοιαύτῃ σύνοικον πονηρίαν ὥσπερ ἐπίσημον ἔχοντας καὶ πᾶσα καθέδρα λοιμῶν ἐστιν ὄντως καὶ κύριοι μὲν ἁπάντων οἱ μηδὲν πλὴν τοῦ συκοφαντεῖν καὶ τὰ τοῦ πλησίον φθείρειν εἰδότες, εἰ δέ τινες ὑπελείφθησαν νοῦ μετέχοντες καὶ φρενῶν, οὗτοι πρὸς ἅπαν ἀποπεφυκέναι δοκοῦσιν

Cf. PLATO : Searching for the things' reason ||| GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN : Education is the highest good ||| BASIL THE GREAT : Education is necessary ||| MAXIMUS CONFESSOR : Teachers of the clean mind ||| MANUEL II PALAEOLOGUS : The virtue of a king

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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